'I try to think positive'

'I try to think positive'

Very few Indian actors are recognised in Hollywood and Irrfan Khan is perhaps one of them. He has been a part of projects, which have made a huge difference in the way the rest of the world sees the Indian film industry.

The intense actor was in the City to promote his movie ‘The Lunchbox’ and feels that it is just the kind of movie that the audience here would want to watch. “This is the right film for the audience in Bangalore. The audience here is very sophisticated and mature, they want to see interesting films. What you identify with in the movie is the romance and the connection. The lunchbox is just a medium and a trigger.

Today, we have diversity in the film industry — different directors are making their presence felt. An industry should have all kinds of films and the audience should have a choice. People today are demanding more films with original storytelling,” he notes.
His journey — from Tapan Sinha’s Ek Doctor Ki Maut to ‘Life of Pi’ — has been quite an adventure. He has seen a paradigm shift in society and its portrayal in cinema.

“I have been very fortunate. I have not only seen the change in cinema, but also seen how the society has changed. My generation has been in a unique period — there were no mobile phones and television and then suddenly, we had both of them. Now, when you stand on a flyover in Mumbai, maybe life will appear the same. But if you dig deeper, you will find that life has changed completely. The world has become smaller — you know what one is thinking in another corner of the world.”

“Similarly, when I came in, the so-called parallel cinema was dying and we survived because of private channels; we would have been doing something else otherwise. It took a long time for me to find a big break. After that things became better. When I did Hasil, people started terming it as a film that was ahead of its time. There was hardly any audience for such films — there were no multiplexes, there was no youth coming to the theatres. Now, because of the audience and the new generation of film-makers, things have changed,” he states.

The talented actor has the capacity to surprise the audience each time he is on the silver screen.

Paan Singh Tomar got rave reviews from the critics and was appreciated by the audience, but it didn’t quite strike gold at the award ceremonies. “I couldn’t really concentrate on that aspect as the film stood on its own. I was overwhelmed to see how well the film fared solely through the word of mouth. I have experienced this for the first time. A film which had no publicity budget did so well. That was what stayed with me — the film made four times its budget. I try to think positive instead of harping on the negative side,” he explains.

Working in a number of international films has made him a global actor and he attributes this to the liberal outlook of the audience. “Indian actors are going global. Even Om Puri has done a lot of work in movies abroad. The audience is also ready to watch different movies. Indian actors are becoming more and more noticeable. The American industry is very respectful — they don’t interfere in your work and they are compartmentalised,” he says, adding that his wait for the right kind of movies was a long one. “I was ready to do commercial entertainers but I did not get a chance. Everyone’s destiny takes its own course,” he signs off.

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